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Where haberdashery and geekdom combine
Pictoral Parking Demo (or, Becca's Insanity Revealed) 
3rd-Dec-2005 10:12 pm
Well, I got tons of positive feedback, so here's my little guide to
parking. I'm starting off with a disclaimer: This is only the way I
park, and
I'm laying no claims whatsoever to it being the only way. That being
said, feel free to link to this or put it somewhere else or whatever.
Just keep my name on it.

Ok! So I'm going to be taking you through how I stitched the second
page of my across the design stitching. It's a little strange to use this as a demo, because
it's an unusual bunch for me - because of where a page break was, I'm
doing 7 rows instead of my usual 5. Still, the method is the same.
Also, I use a tent stitch, so that's what you'll be seeing. Still the
method shouldn't really be different for a full cross.

Here's what it looks like when I've unwound the thread and am ready to begin.

As you can see, the threads are laid out fairly neatly. The couple of
short dark threads you can see are just my way of ending threads.
They're safe to ignore.

This is a closeup of the where I'll start to stitch. I've gridded 10
stitch columns, and for this bunch of rows I'm going from left to
right. Because I stitch an odd number of rows, the next group of rows
will be from right to left. You can see lots of parked threads waiting
to be stitched.

To start, I pick up the first thread in the top row, thread my needle,
and fill in all the stitches of that color. I then bring the needle up
through the hole where I would start the first stitch in row 8, and
then unthread, leaving it dangling. I always make sure to start my
stitches in the same relative hole, so I know when I pick up a thread
which symbol of the chart is corresponding to it.

Next, I pick up the second parked thread in the top row, and do the
same, filling in the color and bringing it up where I would start it in
row 8.

I continue this until I've stitched all the threads in the top row of the 10 stitch section between gridlines.

After this, I go back and stitch all the other threads within that 10
stitch column. I always stitch from the top row down, so I start by
looking for threads parked in row 2, then 3, and so on. As a note, when
I bring the threads up, sometimes there isn't a symbol in the next row
(row 8 ). That's totally ok, I just bring it up in the next row where
it's represented. Sometimes I'll skip as many as 40 rows to park the
thread, but that's my personal preference - other people might be
appalled to even see me suggest it.

This next photo shows that while I only pick up threads within a 10
stitch column at a time, I in no way confine myself to stitching within
this column. If it's a big chunk, I'll happily stitch over a 40-50
stitch wide section. I only stay within the column to pick up threads.
Here you can see how much of the next column over is already stitched,
even though I haven't yet picked up any threads in that column.

Sorry about the blur in the next one. I was really happy this situation
showed up in my current section, because you may have noticed I haven't
said anything yet about starting threads. That's because I almost
always leave new threads until I've stitched all the parked threads.
Right here is the exception. You can see (if you tilt your head and
squint) that the next to last stitch in that column in the top row
doesn't have a parked thread in it, yet all the stitches earlier in the
row are filled in. When I come across a stitch where a thread needs to
be started, and it's in the top row, I first check to see if I
accidentally parked the thread in the wrong place, but then will just
go ahead and start the new thread. I do this because I know that
there's no way this thread will get pulled in from a later colum - all
the stitches earlier than it have been filled in, and I only stitch in
one direction at a time.

Eventually, I finish up all the parked threads. I'm left with a section
that is mostly filled in, except for the occasional white space where I
need to start new threads. Note: This does not mean new colors. I've
been known to have upwards of a dozen threads of the same color started
at the same time. As long as they're separate sections, it doesn't

Finally! I've added in all the new threads, which are similarly parked
in the 8th row, and my threads have been straightened and lay out
nicely below.

After all of this, all that is left to do is curl up my threads and put them to rest while I work on the other 4 pages!

If you've made it all the way through, congratulations! There is no
prize. I hope you haven't run screaming. Please feel free to ask me any
questions you like - I will do my best to answer coherently.

Happy stitching!


5th-Dec-2005 02:16 pm (UTC)
I love parking :) It's so helpful when trying to keep track of where you are! Especially if you can run out for a billion needles and put one on every thread.

I still don't understand tent stitching, in the end isn't it basically a 1/2 cross stitch?
5th-Dec-2005 04:16 pm (UTC)
Given that I have probably about 300-400 threads going at any one time, I'd never stop stabbing myself with all those needles!

The difference between a 1/2 cross and a tent stitch isn't how is looks on the front, it's how it looks in the back. With half cross, you get vertical lines, with tent you get diagonals. I actually use a combination of both because I stitch in both directions, but I generally just refer to it as tent stitching rather than "tent and 1/2 cross" because that's a mouthful, even when typing.
5th-Dec-2005 04:23 pm (UTC)
Ah gotcha. I figured they would look different on the front somehow. I'm not too concerned about the backs, as long as it's somewhat neat :)

I'll have to try that one day, stitch something entirely in 1/2 stitches.
5th-Dec-2005 06:37 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I don't care about the back either. Tent/Half stitches are awesome. I'm using 2 strands on 25 count, and unless you're an inch away you really cannot see a difference. And it's twice as fast!
5th-Dec-2005 07:23 pm (UTC)
That sounds neat. I might try that next time.
7th-Dec-2005 08:34 pm (UTC)
I do tent stitching as well...I love the satiny feel of the thread on the back when it's done correctly. I actually (I know I am a dweeb) went and changed the stitching until I found the one I like best...To do mine I thread up into the Left top hole and down the lower right hole, Back up the lower left and then down the upper right. That forms the pretty Satiny stitch I like.

I am so anal I figured out what each looks like depending on what holes you use. YAY ME.
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